Venue: The Racehorse
Location: 15 Abington Square Northampton England NN1
Telephone: 01604 604313
Doors open 8:00pm
Next Wilson outing sees us lined up against The Young People, to wit: a band called Magic Skool Bus. Remember that line in the communique about "it's like being screamed at by your parents"? Well, it has come to pass. The average age of the members of Magic Skool Bus is about 18. Still, they came to us and asked us to do it, so we shall see what that's all about in due course, I guess.
Stevie G returned from working in Leicester last week to find that his clueless flatmates had gone and spent about three hundred pounds of Steve's own money on a nice holiday for him. They had cheerfully ignored his suggestions that a trip to Turkey starting on Monday might be just the ticket. Instead, they booked him onto a holiday trip that departed on Saturday morning. Steve only discovered this on Friday evening, and to be fair, he came straight and told the other members of the band that he was suddenly and unexpectedly out of the starting line-up for Sunday's gig. Naturally, we abused him luxuriously and left him to his fate. For the clueless flatmates had not booked Steve a nice trip to Turkey. Oh no. Our poor guitarist found himself gazing straight down the barrel of a full ten days in a compulsory-sex-and-throwing-up gulag in Ibiza! Somebody pointed out that it makes Guantanamo Bay seem like quite an attractive distination.
Faintly rattled, the remaining quintet pulled together a rehearsal on Saturday night, a lengthy but relaxed affair, enlivened by calls of "Sack the bald bloke!" from a passing Sonic Boom. The few pals in attendance declared that we appeared perfectly match-fit as a quintet, and we felt all right.
Now, about Magic Skool Bus... It has crossed our minds that maybe they were winding us up. If so, they deserve some kind of award. UK readers will be only too aware that pubs close at half past ten of a Sunday. We had organised a three band bill, which really was all that there was time for. Over the weekend, the drummer of Magic Skool Bus, one Rory by name, advised us first that there was to be a fourth band on the bill, then - at the soundcheck - that a FIFTH ensemble was on its way to join in the fun! Frankly, I couldn't see how on earth Rory was going to get four bands on and off the stage in time for us to get on at ten o'clock.
We decided that it was probably for the best if we just let Rory and his pals get on with doing whatever they were going to do, so after a quick and easy soundcheck we quit the theatre of operations and kept out of the way.
At about eight thirty I stuck my head around the door of the venue. Small herds of teens milled across the dance floor while Victims of the Establishment did their punk rock thing. Damn fine it was too. V.O.T.E. seem to have taken on that Wilson thing of having three big blokes yelling at you all at the same time, and it worked well. They looked good, they sounded good and by golly it did me good. After a couple of tunes I headed back to the front bar to join the growing pack of friends and mentallists assembling to see my band. Johnny Octopus and his girlfriend had come up from London, and we were also graced with a visit from a gentleman who worked on the British Mars probe that just blasted off the other day. I don't think I've ever met a man who had launched a space ship before. (Or does Kizzy O'Callaghan count?)
A few beers later, I popped my head around the door again, and was delighted to find Magic Skool Bus taking the stage. This band is very mad. They play ska-punk music, with a three piece horn section. They play very fast indeed. The teens were digging it like good 'uns. I was just happy that MSB had made it onstage in time.
When it came time for The Bus to leave the stage I grabbed Rory: "Congratulations, mate. I don't know how you did it, but we're bang on time." He replied: "Well, the fact that two of the bands didn't show up might have helped..."
So there we have it. Three bands, just like it said on the posters. So what was it? Were there really two mystery bands who just failed to show up? Or was it all just the Wind-Up Of The Week? We here at Planet Wilson STILL don't know!
Around about ten o'clock, then, we got up. And from the very beginning we knew we were going to be having a bit of a night. The crowd had swelled by now, with many of the usual suspects in the area and bent on mayhem. This being the case, we thought that maybe we should deliver them of exactly that - mayhem. And that, dear readers, is what they got. With Steve safely locked away in the fleshpots of San Antonio, I turned up the amplifier and went for it.
Curtis was on fine form too. In addition to his Air-FX machine, he is now also the proud owner of an Air-Synth. Not that you would know: he has taken to concealing all his technology in a small box draped in black fabrics. There was some talk about maybe printing something on the box. My favourite suggestion was: "CASSETTE PLAYER". The sound was good and strong, with Misery laying down rock-hard bass. As the set went on, Skinner began to drop delays and effects into the mix. We gave it some forty minutes, detonated the last chord of Dark Agenda with some first-class sonic Semtex, and split, leaving the happy punters bellowing for more through the feedback. I can't say for certain, of course, but it felt as if we had just hit a new level altogether. As Mr. Cotton put it, "A stunning performance , I realise that you felt you were on the brink of relegation , but I think you went on to Win The Cup."
Mr. Cotton is also responsible for the accompanying screen dump. God bless him!
Records and shirts were sold. Money changed hands. MC Bot (who had a blinder himself, by the way) appeared with a case of Becks Bier. We jumped into Steve Ward's jet-black A-Team stealth van and vanished into the NN1 night.
When I went into Deepak's shop this morning, he said "I hear you had a good gig last night." Bloody hell, if people are volunteering glowing reviews of our shows to their local shopkeepers, we must be doing something right.
Oh, and I heard it was raining in Ibiza...saucer of milk for Number 77 please...
Headstone NN1 28/7/2003